How schools are keeping students safe amid record-breaking temperatures

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 7:12 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -We’re all feeling the extreme heat. So, we’re checking in on how schools are working to keep students safe.

Kids are still going out on the playground in Clinton, but they’re making some modifications on exactly when and how long they’re out here. The district decided to try and simplify the decision-making.

“When you make something too complicated, you can’t keep it together,” said Clinton Public School District Public Information Officer Robert Chapman. “What we’re doing for our students, our elementary students on the playground, is the exact same thing that our high school teams are doing with football, with cross country, and with our band.”

They’re using an app that measures the wet bulb globe temperature. That goes beyond just the temperature or heat index and measures the heat stress.

“A lot of our students understand that if it’s in the orange, the protocol there is that recess time is cut from about 30 minutes down to about 10 to 15 minutes,” described Chapman. “So, that they can not be exposed to the sun too much, but they can still get that energy out.”

They’re also asking parents to send students to school with appropriate clothing and layers if they feel they may get cold inside. Hydration is the other element of preparation they’re taking into consideration.

Over in Madison County, second graders at Madison Avenue Elementary are getting a hybrid of activities.

“We have moved recess times that were in the heat of the day to earlier times,” said principal Dr. Melissa Philley. “We’ve moved those to shaded areas. And we have some alternate plans. We’re doing a lot of indoor recess.”

Recess there is normally 25 minutes, and on these hot days, it’s getting scaled back, mixing in things like these GoNoodle videos that guide students through dances and other movement.

“The kids need play,” said Philley. “They need movement. But at some parts of the day, it’s really not safe to do that. And they may go outside for 10 minutes. They still have some movement to get out, but we’re doing it inside.”

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